In December 1967, David appeared as a guest in Patricia Beatty's New Dance Group of Canada in Toronto, returning to London to direct the LCDT's first London season. He visited Toronto again in March 1968 to stage a concert in collaboration with Peter Randazzo, rehearsing in Patricia Beatty's studio. David then completed his LCDT season, however, his future partnership with Randazzo had been established -- Toronto Dance Theatre's (TDT) birth was imminent. Peter and David negotiated with John Sime, founder and principal of the Three Schools of Art, to start their company under his guidance. However, when Patricia offered her school and company as the base for this new venture, the three co-founders formed their unique triumvirate.
Toronto Dance Theatre, a professional company whose dancers trained in the Graham technique, debuted in December 1968 at Toronto Workshop Productions theatre.
David Earle wrote in his journal in 1973:
I think that when we began to work in Toronto many people were hungry for a more avant-garde oriented theatre experience than it was actually our intention to provide. On the contrary, with uncompromising demands on the technical standard of our dancers, we intend to preserve the classical yet humane dance forms of Martha Graham -- so quickly abandoned by some members of her company who founded new, more abstract movements in a city with an unequalled pace in its demand for novelty.
TDT's growth was phenomenal. In 1972 they mounted their first highly successful European tour and for ten years TDT grew despite persistent financial hardships, a second unsuccessful European tour and scathing critical reviews. In the first decade, David created thirty-five works.
Trish and Peter are both enormous universes -- both equally unfathomable. They were glamorous, exotic, dark, mysterious, sensual performers and phenomenal charismatic dance artists, and I felt plain beside them.When Peter started choreographing he was a new presence in Canada: a 'macho' bare-chested male dancer who did not hesitate to express anger in his works.
We were in an arena together where we were creating simultaneously. There was never any conflict or jealousy between us, no miserable altercations or ego fits. We combined works that seemed to fit together in a program without conscious awareness of whose pieces were chosen because we admired and participated in each other's works.
I feel that one of the problems of this triumvirate was that none of us was more visible than the Toronto Dance Theatre. It became its own power and I began to feel that we were not being understood for our individual identities and gifts. There came a time when 'The Theatre of Peter Randazzo' should have been seen exclusively in one evening and the audience could connect solely with his imagination and genius. While always presenting a mixed program, we were not able to develop separately or be perceived as distinctly individual dance artists.
In 1979, David originated the School of Toronto Dance Theatre's Professional Training Program. Although David choreographed eighteen works between 1979 and 1982, the workload was overwhelming and, along with escalating financial problems and dancer dissension, the founders knew they needed help. Kenny Pearl, David's first student in Toronto, who later danced with Martha Graham and Alvin Ailey in New York, was appointed artistic director of the company in August 1983. During Pearl's four seasons, David choreographed some of his most renowned works -- Court of Miracles (1983), Sacra Conversazione (1984) and Sunrise (1987).
In 1987, David became sole artistic director leading the company to its first two triumphant seasons in New York and tours in Europe and Asia. In November 1993, TDT celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary featuring selected works of the three founders. Despite obvious successes during that period, David was exhausted and defeated by the widening separation between the founders and what had become, to him, an impersonal institution. He handed the artistic reigns to company member and resident choreographer Christopher House in June 1994. (next page)
©2007, Dance Collection Danse
David Earle Exhibition Curator: Michele Green
Web Design: Believe It Design Works